Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Juniors

Title: Juniors
Author: Kaui Hart Hemmings
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher:G.P Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 3 Cows

Goodreads Description:
Lea Lane has lived in between all her life.

Part Hawaiian, part Mainlander. Perpetual new girl at school. Hanging in the shadow of her actress mother’s spotlight. And now: new resident of the prominent West family’s guest cottage.

Bracing herself for the embarrassment of being her classmates’ latest charity case, Lea is surprised when she starts becoming friends with Will and Whitney West instead—or in the case of gorgeous, unattainable Will, possibly even more than friends. And despite their differences, Whitney and Lea have a lot in common: both are navigating a tangled web of relationships, past disappointments and future hopes. As things heat up with Will, and her friendship with Whitney deepens, Lea has to decide how much she's willing to change in order to fit into their world.

Lea Lane has lived in between all her life. But it isn’t until her junior year that she learns how to do it on her own terms.

If those summertime blues are starting to set in for you, I just might have a remedy.  Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings is the perfect summer read.  It takes place in Hawaii and all the talk of sun and surfing will cheer you right up!  At least, it certainly did for me! While I’m a huge fan of fall (it’s my favorite season), I can’t help but feel a little bummed that summer is reaching its end and my days of reading out on the porch are coming to a close.  That being said, the setting of the book was my favorite part of Juniors, because I was transported somewhere a little warmer for the time being.
Unfortunately though, the setting was one of few things I truly liked about the book. Maybe I’m just getting old, but the slang was a big issue for me and I was actually distracted on more than one occasion reading the dialogue.  When Lea first arrives to her new home, she spends a lot of time listening to the other kids at her school and trying to fit in.  This included how the rest of her classmates talked.  The only way I can describe it is equal parts slang and ditzy schoolgirl.  By the end of the book Lea said “Shadduppppp” so many times that I actually found myself cringing.  I have teenage sisters and cousins and while I know teenage girls can have a language all their own that seems eccentric at times, it was no where near the dialect portrayed in this book.  While I respect the fact that Hemmings tried to write from the perspectives of these teenagers, I thought she missed the mark and Lea and Whitney’s conversations were over-exaggerated and not a great representation of teenage girls in today’s culture
            I will say though, I enjoyed the scenes where Lea is surfing with her friends.  I went surfing for the first time this year on a trip to Mexico and it was the most incredible experience ever.  Surfing has always been one of those things that’s equally intrigued me and scared the living daylights out of me.  I have a fear of open water (usually oceans more so than lakes) but surfing has always been on my bucket list.  I blame the movie Blue Crush, which was one of me and my sister’s favorite movies growing up.  So reading about Lea’s surfing excursions with Danny and Whitney brought me back to my own experience surfing.  I only wish these scenes were longer or more descriptive of the beaches in Hawaii that they went to surf at.  Since Lea’s favorite pastime was surfing, I thought Hemmings could have spent more time writing about this aspect of Lea’s life. 
            Other than that though, I found the book to be a little slow for me.  The plot wasn’t that great overall and I had a hard time finishing the book once I reached the half way mark.  I didn’t hate Juniors, but I’m not sure it’s a book I can see myself reading again in the future.  


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